Washington National Opera Receives Major Donation By Former Chorister

By Francisco Salazar

The Washington National Opera has announced a donation of $1.1 million from Clifford D. Thomson, a member of the Washington National Opera Chorus for 30 years.

Thomson passed away May 6, 2016, in Naples, Florida, but his estate gift was just recently made known to the company. The chorister served the company from 1975 to 2006 and performed hundreds of times in more than 75 Washington National Opera productions.

The singer’s first performance came in Verdi’s “Otello” while his last appearance was in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” As a result of the gift, the company will commemorate his generous gift, by etching Thompson’s name in the marble walls of the Kennedy Center’s Hall of Nations.

In a press release Timothy O’Leary, WNO’s general director said, “We are deeply moved to receive this extraordinary and unexpected gift. This contribution is all the more meaningful coming from a member of WNO’s artistic family. Many WNO company members fondly remember Mr. Thomson’s sense of humor, his deep love of opera—especially Puccini—and the joy he brought to our productions. We are so grateful for his generosity, which will help us create productions of beauty and meaning on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage for generations to come.”